The nation’s oldest civil rights organization says it will come up with a sweeping plan to protect black Americans from white supremacist violence in response to a hate-fueled massacre that killed 10 black people in Buffalo, New York. , last weekend.
In a plan shared for the first time with The Associated Press, the NAACP suggests a policy approach to stopping future acts of anti-Black domestic terrorism that involves law enforcement, business regulation and gun control to fire. The proposal outlines actions that could be taken immediately by the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.
Specifically, the plan calls for holding accountable any business that is complicit in the spread of bigotry and racism through the news media and on social platforms, for enacting gun violence prevention measures that maintain weapons of mass death out of the hands of would-be abusers and to reform policing practices so that Black Americans experience the same de-escalation tactics often used to peacefully apprehend murderous white supremacists.
Saturday’s premeditated attack by an outspoken racist on black shoppers at Buffalo’s Tops Friendly Market made it clear that “democracy and white supremacy cannot coexist,” the NAACP President and CEO said. Derrick Johnson.
He is due to meet Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday, a spokesman for the civil rights group said.
The NAACP has revealed its proposal as black leaders across the country worry about the inaction of elected leaders to prevent domestic terror attacks by white supremacists against black Americans. From Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Birmingham, Alabama, to Charleston, South Carolina, and Charlottesville, Virginia, generations of Americans have not seen the rising death toll from such violence meet with urgent legislation to prevent or reduce the threat.
The Ku Klux Klan bombing that killed four black girls at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham helped pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act – landmark legislation that outlawed segregation . He did not address Klan violence.
Horrifying images of Alabama state troopers and white vigilantes brutally beating suffrage protesters in Selma spurred the enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – landmark legislation that banned the suppression of black voters. It did not address the excessive use of police force against peaceful protesters.
And that was 67 years after the murder of Emmett Till, a black Chicago teenager who had been kidnapped in Mississippi, lynched and thrown into a river after being accused of whistling a white woman, before Congress n passed an anti-lynching law. President Joe Biden signed the bill in late March, more than a year after he used his inaugural address to warn of the rise of white supremacist ideology and domestic terrorism.
“White supremacy is poison,” Biden reiterated Tuesday during a visit to Buffalo. “We need to say as clearly and forcefully as possible that white supremacist ideology has no place in America.”
As the coronavirus pandemic gave rise to anti-Asian hate crimes, Congress quickly enacted legislation that encourages reporting of these crimes. It also gave law enforcement more resources to handle the increase in reports.
But now, in the wake of the white supremacist attack in Buffalo, black civil rights advocates are wondering if they’ll see the same haste from lawmakers on anti-black hate crimes. The House passed legislation late Wednesday night that would bolster federal resources to prevent domestic terrorism in response to the mass shooting. Supporters of the House bill say it will help officials better track and respond to the growing threat of white extremist terrorism. But the bill has yet to receive Senate approval.
“We need to know that our top American leaders also react and react when we are hurt, as they acted and reacted when others were hurt,” said prominent civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, who represents the family of 86 years old. Ruth Whitfield, the oldest victim to die in the Buffalo attack.
Andrea Boyles, associate professor of sociology and African studies at Tulane University, said part of the black experience in America is seeing racialized violence against black communities treated as a non-urgent issue.
“The message of all of this has always been that where there is hatred toward black people, there are less likely to be consequences,” Boyles said. “We need to be clear with elected officials, black and white, Democrat or Republican, that talking points can no longer be the trend.”
The NAACP’s policy proposal seeks systemic and institutional changes that go beyond simply punishing racist domestic terrorists after they commit mass murder. Civil rights group hits out at Fox News, the cable news channel it accuses of using airtime ‘to sow bigotry and racism, create divisiveness, spread misinformation and promoting conspiracy theories that continually encourage violence.”
He also checked the name of Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who openly discussed on air the baseless “great replacement” conspiracy theory cited by the Buffalo shooter. The conspiracy is a racist ideology, which has moved from white nationalist circles into the mainstream, that says white people and their influence are being “replaced” by people of color.
The NACCP also called on advertisers, including the National Football League, to take a moral stand against the cable medium by withholding their advertising dollars.
With respect to gun violence prevention, the NAACP mandates the creation of a “Domestic Terrorism Watch List” and the prohibition of those on the list from legally purchasing a firearm. And on police reforms, the proposal calls on Biden to take executive action in place of the stalled George Floyd Justice in Policing Act before the second anniversary of Floyd’s murder next week.
“All police and law enforcement officers must undergo a thorough review of their affiliations to determine that they are not aligned with white supremacist organizations,” the NAACP suggests in its proposal.
Patrice Willoughby, vice president of policy and legislative affairs for the NAACP, said the federal government already has some of the tools it needs to start acting on policy proposals.
“Unless there is some sort of holistic approach to eradicating hate, we will never have the kind of society in which people are free to live and work without fear,” she said. declared.
Across the civil rights community, black activists have echoed the NAACP’s call to action to fight white supremacy and violence.
Amara Enyia, policy and research coordinator for Movement for Black Lives, said it was important to recognize that the Buffalo shooting was not an individual act of violence, but rather a symptom and evidence of a systemic problem that has increased dramatically in recent years.
“These atrocities that are being committed are systems, and they are systems of structural, systemic cancer,” Enyia said. “You have this person who is fueled by anti-black racism and a society whose systems are built on anti-black racism.
“When you understand this, it should come as no surprise that this person acts like this, because it reflects a certain worldview that unfortunately underlies the various systems on which this society has been built. And those of us who are organizers, activists, we have worked to try to dismantle these systems because they have been harmful.
Color of Change President Rashad Robinson noted that white supremacists and nationalists now have access to a wider audience and are able to spread hateful and dangerous rhetoric on various online platforms. Robinson called for stricter regulation of social media platforms to prevent the proliferation of supremacist material and ideologies.
“What we’re seeing right now, with the dominance of social media platforms, is an unchecked corporate infrastructure whose incentive structures demand a type of engagement that makes it much more likely to go down the rabbit hole of white supremacy,” Robinson said. “Until we actually impact 21st century technology infrastructure, we’ll be a place where it takes us back to the 18th and 19th centuries.”
Stafford reported from Detroit. Morrison and Stafford are members of the AP’s Race and Ethnicity team. Follow Morrison on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/aaronlmorrison. Follow Stafford on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/kat__stafford.